Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal is monitoring the progress of young Brazilian forward Gabriel Barbosa of Santos IBTimes UK

Manchester United are reportedly tracking young Brazilian forward Gabriel Barbosa, who currently plays for Santos.

According to the Mirror, young Barbosa is one of the hottest properties of Brazilian football and Louis van Gaal is keeping tabs on his with a view to a move in the future.

However, the report claims that Barcelona have the first option of signing the player as they had put an agreement in place when they signed Barbosa's former Santos teammate Neymar.

United are hoping that they will be first choice if the Catalan side do not take up their option with the Brazilian club.

Apart from the Premier League side Serie A giants Inter Milan and 10-time European champions Real Madrid are monitoring the forward and have made their interest known to the young forward's current employers.

Barbosa has been in Santos his entire career, and signed his first professional contract in 2012. He is contracted to the Brazilian club till the summer of 2019 and it is believed that he has a release clause of £39m in his current deal.

The 18-year-old forward was impressive form this season for Santos and it is claimed that the striker will be called up to the senior Brazil squad in 2015.

Meanwhile, United midfielder Michael Carrick has vowed that the Old Trafford club will not stop their pursuit of title contenders Chelsea and Manchester City.

After a poor start to the season, the Red Devils are one of the form teams in the league following seven wins and a draw in their last eight fixtures.

"The signs have been good in recent weeks. We were bitterly disappointed not to win last week [at Aston Villa] but we beat Newcastle and now have two big away games. They will be a good test for us to see where we are at," Carrick told United's official site.

"We're continuing to look up and will continue to try to catch them [City and Chelsea]. We're not satisfied with third – it's obviously an improvement and we're getting better, but we want to keep looking up," the English midfielder added.